Wanted premieres on January 10: a “light” comedy about older people facing solitude in nursing homes
The movie Wanted (“Matloubin”), which was written, directed and produced by Nibal Arakji, will premiere on January 10, 2019 in Lebanese theaters. This social comedy addresses the issue of older people who are left facing solitude in nursing homes through four characters who live an adventure full of human, touching and funny situations at the same time.
The film is about four friends in their late 70’s, Jacko, Daad, Walid and Adeeb, living in a nursing home. When Jacko receives a letter informing her that the grave of her deceased husband will be unburied because a company wants to build a mall on the land, she is devastated. Her 3 friends decide to take her and run away from the nursing home to stop the promoters to do so. A very funny road trip begins where the four characters are put in all kind of crazy situations, and their story becomes a public issue.
The protagonists in the movie produced by Dream Box Productions are played by Georges Diab, Daad Rizk, Georges Boukhalil, Siham Haddad, Aida Sabra and Pierre Rabbat. Myriam Klink appears as guest of honor, while actors Badih Abou Chakra, Wissam Saliba, Dory Al Samarany, Ali Mneimneh and Josyane Boulos, as well as director Lina Abyad and TV hosts Tony Baroud and Diana Fakhoury make special appearances.
Arakji described the movie, which lasts an hour and a half, as “a light comedy and a very human movie about older people”. She expected that “every person in the audience will relate to those characters, feel with them and be touched by their stories”. “We all have parents who are aging, grandparents that we don’t spend enough time with but that we are very attached to,” she said.
Then, Arakji, who has written and produced three other movies (Blind Intersections, Single Married Divorced and Single Married Divorced 2), added, “Wanted/Matloubin, shows us through the eyes of our elders that the most important thing in life is to be human, to stand together, to be there for our friends and families.” She concluded that the movie underlines how important it is “to love and to be loved, to fight for what we believe in and to be true to our principles and values.”
Georges Diab, who plays the role of Adeeb, one of the four friends, said that his character is “a loving person who dreams a lot. The fact that he is in a nursing home doesn’t affect him negatively because he still has all his capacities, even though they are limited.” Diab also noted that “the movie is more socially meaningful than it is funny. It shows that a person needs to be surrounded by other people and that life requires sharing with others and helping them; sharing brings happiness to those who give and to the people in their lives.”
As for Daad Rizk, known for her appearances in TV commercials, she plays the role of Daad, “a funny character”, as she described. “Each character in the film has his own story. The moral of the movie is that these elders suffer from some kind of injustice, for they have children and grandchildren who never ask about them. Sadly, this is a reality in Lebanon. Old people are put in nursing homes, forgotten by their families, and no one ever visits them.”
Georges Boukhalil, who experienced acting for the first time during this movie, described his role as Walid as “touching, balancing between sadness and laughter”. “I met Nibal by coincidence and she asked me to play the role, so I accepted on the spot,” he recounted. He also noted that the movie “combines comedy and drama” and that it has a message which is that “old people shouldn’t be thrown in nursing homes and shouldn’t be neglected”.
Speaking of Jacko’s character, Siham Haddad said, “She is attached to traditions, to the memories she had with her husband who died a long time and is protective of the place where he was buried. But despite all of this, she loves life.” In her opinion, the film “carries a great social and human message”. “We fled the nursing home for the sake of defending principles and traditions,” she explained.
Producer, concept creator and TV host Pierre Rabbat plays the role of Karim who “empathizes a lot with the elders in the nursing home, helps them and understands them. However, he is at the same time afraid of his boss, so he tries to collaborate discretely with the patients in order to facilitate things for them.” For Rabbat, the film is a “dark comedy”. He explained that “the producer wants to convey an important message which is that families mustn’t abandon their members when they age but should instead stay next to them. It is unacceptable to throw them in a place they do not want to be in. If they were to stay away from home, the place should be qualified and equipped to provide them with care and respect in their final days.” Rabbat thinks “the audience will surely love the movie because it is full of very funny situations and because the protagonists are loveable, and people will empathize with them. At the same time, people will feel emotional and open their eyes on this human issue.”
The actor Aida Sabra described her character Madame Amar as “very weird, complexed and greedy. She loves money and has no kindness or pity at all. All of this is shown in her way of dealing with the patients in the nursing home.” She insisted on the fact that “the film carries a human and social meaning. It is the first time that Lebanese cinema tackles a subject related to the elderly, sheds the light on their struggles and on the way society treats those who are left in nursing homes. Nobody returns to take care of them, even close ones.” She expects the audience to like the film for “it carries an important human and social meaning, sheds the light on this issue for the first time and is full of funny situations which happened to the four friends while on their way to solve the problem. The characters are very nice and the situations themselves are funny, even though they are painful.” “It is a light comedy that people will love and which carries a great message at the same time,” she concluded.